It’s Shehbaz vs Qureshi as National Assembly elects new PM today

Shehbaz to be joint candidate of opposition for PM, submits 13 nomination papers: Monday’s NA session timing changed to 2pm: President Alvi formally informed joint opposition has majority in NA

By: News Desk
Published: 09:21 AM, 10 Apr, 2022
It’s Shehbaz vs Qureshi as National Assembly elects new PM today
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The National Assembly will elect a new leader of the House on Monday (today) with Shehbaz Sharif as the hot favourite and former ruling party PTI has pitched Shah Mehmood Qureshi as its candidate for the prime ministership, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

PML-N President and candidate of the joint opposition Shehbaz Sharif submitted his nomination papers himself at the National Assembly Secretariat while from PTI side nomination papers of Shah Mehmood Qureshi as party candidate for PM slot were filed.

Shehbaz Sharif submitted 13 nomination papers in the office of the NA secretary. 

Shehbaz Sharif in total submitted 13 nomination papers and Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto, Khawaja Asif, Rana Tanveer, Amir Haider Hoti, Shahzain Bugti, Khursheed Shah, Naveed Qamar, Ayaz Sadiq, Saad Rafique and others were among those who proposed and seconded PML-N president’s nomination papers.

The opposition leaders also held a meeting in Shehbaz Sharif’s chamber to discuss the strategy for election of the new leader of the house.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s nomination papers were proposed by Amir Dogar and seconded by Maleeka Bokhari.

Assembly secretariat has confirmed receiving the nomination papers of Shehbaz Sharif.

Later, in a tweet, Shehbaz Sharif thanked all political leaders and workers for extending him support.

The Monday’s Assembly session which was set to start at 11:00 am will now be held at 2:00 pm.

Once the papers are declared valid after scrutiny which will be conducted shortly, the list of the candidates will be released.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Parliament had removed Prime Minister Imran Khan through a vote of no-confidence on late Saturday night. As many as 174 members of the Opposition voted to dismiss Imran Khan from the office.

President Alvi informed about new standings in NA

The National Assembly Secretariat formally informed President Arif Alvi that Imran Khan is more the prime minister of Pakistan as no-confidence motion against him was adopted with 174 votes.

Sources said National Assembly Secretariat Secretary Tahir Hussain under Assembly Rule 38 informed the president.

He also made the president aware that the joint opposition now has majority in the National Assembly.

Key issues facing next leader

Whoever becomes Pakistan's next prime minister following the dismissal of Imran Khan will inherit the same issues that bedevilled the former international cricket star.

A poorly performing economy, rising militancy and shaky relations with former allies will be top of the agenda for the next administration.

The incoming government will need to stave off "multiple challenges on domestic and foreign relations levels", said Professor Jaffar Ahmed, director of the Institute of Historical and Social Research.

Following are the key issues ahead for the incoming premier of the country of 220 million people:

- The economy -

Crippling debt, galloping inflation and a feeble currency have combined to keep growth stagnant for the past three years with little prospect of genuine improvement.

"We don't have any direction," said Nadeemul Haque, vice-chancellor of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), a research organisation in Islamabad.

"Radical policy reforms are needed to turn around the economy."

Inflation is ticking along at over 12 percent, foreign debt is at $130 billion -- or 43 percent of GDP -- and the rupee has dipped to 190 to the dollar, a decline of nearly a third since Khan took power.

A $6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package signed by Khan in 2019 has never been fully implemented because the government reneged on agreements to cut or end subsidies on certain goods and improve revenue and tax collection.

"The IMF package must go on," said Ehsan Malik, head of the Pakistan Business Council.

On the bright side, remittances from Pakistan's vast diaspora have never been higher, although the cash flows have put Pakistan on the radar of the Financial Action Task Force, the global money-laundering and terrorist-funding watchdog.

"This is a hanging sword which could fall on the country any time," Jaffar said.

- Rise of militancy -

Pakistan's Taliban, a separate movement that shares common roots with the militants who took power in Afghanistan last year, have stepped up attacks in recent months.

They have threatened an offensive against government forces during Ramadan and in the past have been blamed for a string of murderous attacks.

Khan attempted to bring militants back into the mainstream, but talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants got nowhere last year before a month-long truce collapsed.

Afghanistan's Taliban say they will not allow the country to be used as a base for foreign militants, but it remains to be seen if they will genuinely put a stop to the activities of thousands of Pakistani Islamists based there -- or where they will go if they are kicked out. 

There are no easy solutions even for the incoming government, experts say.

"The insurgency challenge would remain as big and crucial for the new government," said political analyst Rafiullah Kakar.

In mineral-rich Balochistan, separatists have been demanding more autonomy and a greater share of the wealth for years, and the region is riven by sectarian strife and violence.

Kakar suggested a two-pronged approach -- "confidence-building measures and political reconciliation" in Balochistan, but taking off the kid gloves for the Taliban "once and all".

- Foreign relations -

Imran Khan claims the United States orchestrated his removal by conspiring with the opposition, and the next government will have to work hard to patch up relations with Washington -- a key arms supplier countering Russia's trade with India.

Khan angered the West by continuing with a visit to Moscow on the day Russia invaded Ukraine, and was also one of the few world leaders to attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics when others boycotted in protest at China's human rights record.

Still, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa allayed some fears last weekend by saying good relations with the United States remain high on Pakistan's agenda -- and the military holds huge sway regardless of which civilian administration is in power.

"The incoming government... needs to put in hard effort to undo the damage," said Tauseef Ahmed Khan, a political analyst and journalism teacher.

State Department says US monitoring situation in Pakistan

The US State Department spokesperson reacting to the last day's political and constitutional crisis in Pakistan said the US has been monitoring the situation in the country.

The spokesperson pinned hopes that political parties will stay affirm on democratic values and good governance.

The US government Saturday once again categorically turned down Prime Minister Imran Khan’s allegations regarding its involvement in toppling his government through a no-trust motion.

Former prime minister Imran Khan Friday addressed the nation and reiterated the stance that he would not tolerate the installation of a "foreign government" in Pakistan and that he would turn to the public for support if such a thing happens.

He stated that he would never accept an “imported government” and would look up to the public for their decision.

Reporter: Usman Khan

With inputs from AFP.